The Director’s Office of Equity, Sustainability, and Tribal Affairs and the Race and Equity Branch are the latest evolution of a multi-year effort within Caltrans to reaffirm our commitment to address the systemic racial inequities that exist within the public transportation sector. In 2018, Caltrans sent a cohort of headquarters staff to participate in the State's growing involvement with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), which is a nationwide network of government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all.
2018 GARE Cohort: Learning Year
In 2018, a group of Caltrans Headquarters staff participated in the Capitol Cohort Learning Year. During this year, staff engaged in training from Racial Equity 101 to tools for equity solutions such as Results Based Accountability. The GARE model teaches a circular strategy around normalizing conversations around race and equity, organizing internal infrastructure and partnerships, operationalizing equity tools and policies, and creating institutional change. One of the tools introduced during this year was a Racial Equity Action Plan (REAP) and each department was challenged to create a REAP specific to their department's roles and responsibilities in California.
2019 GARE Cohort: Implementation Year
The next year of participation was geared toward refining and implementing the REAPs created during the learning year of the Capitol Cohort. This year also focused on collaboration between the state agencies participating. Participating departments were given time for networking, knowledge and content sharing, and cross-agency strategizing. Some of the other state agencies participating include the California Department of Public Health, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the Department of Social Services. In the 2019 Capitol Cohort, Caltrans expanded our team to include district participants, as we know needs vary across the state, and district/division implementation of equity strategies will be specific to the needs of the region and programs.
2020 Caltrans Office of Race & Equity Established
Officially launched in August of 2020 under Planning and Modal Programs, the Caltrans Office of Race and Equity (CORE) was charged with advancing racial equity throughout the Department's internal and external operations. CORE provided leadership, guidance, training, and support to all divisions, districts, and programs on equity efforts, working closely with the Office of Civil Rights as well as with our Administration, Human Resources, and Equal Employment Opportunity Programs to advance diversity and equity within our workforce. CORE included three different branches: Priority Populations & Community Engagement, Native American Liaison Branch, and Training & Communications.
2022 Merger of CORE and the Director’s Office of Sustainability
With the merger of the Caltrans Office of Race & Equity (CORE) and the Director’s Office of Sustainability, the Director’s Office of Equity, Sustainability, and Tribal Affairs (ESTA) was created. The three CORE branches were integrated into the Director’s Office to advance racial equity and climate justice at Caltrans. The Race and Equity Branch continues to provide policy leadership and support to all divisions, programs, and districts to eliminate barriers, reduce burdens, and provide more equitable transportation for all Californians. The Race and Equity Branch also works closely with the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) and the California Transportation Commission (CTC) to further interagency coordination to achieve meaningful outcomes in transportation equity.